The Equalizer movies have been among the biggest successes of star Denzel Washington's career. The first two, released respectively in 2014 and 2018, both managed to make north of $190 million worldwide and did so with eight-figure budgets. Now the R-rated action trilogy has come to an end with the release of director Antoine Fuqua's The Equalizer 3, and it would appear that Washington has yet another hit on his hands.
Check out the full Top 10 for this weekend below, and join me after for analysis.
The Equalizer 3's Opening Weekend Numbers Are Right In Line With Those Of Its Predecessors, And That's A Good Sign
When it comes to judging the success of a sequel, one of the most easiest methodologies is comparing opening weekend numbers to the film's that came before it. If the numbers are up, it's a sign that excitement is up for the latest installment, and if numbers are down, it's a sign that enthusiasm is waning. In the case of The Equalizer 3, we have more of a "same as it ever was" type situation brewing, as the ticket sales for the new movie are right in line with what the first two releases in the franchise did.
Antoine Fuqua's The Equalizer made $34.1 million in its first three days back in 2014, and the same director's The Equalizer 2 made $36 million in the same time frame four years later. Now, The Equalizer 3 has put up results right between those two figures, having made $34.5 million domestically since Friday (according to The Numbers). Factoring in its Variety-reported $70 million budget – which is smaller than The Equalizer 2's costs – the film is on a clear path to have a similar box office legacy.
And surely only going to help things is the response that The Equalizer 3 has earned. The 2023 sequel has gotten a better critical response than the other two titles in the series (The Equalizer has a 61 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and The Equalizer 2 sports a 52 percent), and CinemaScore surveys delivered an "A" grade that matches its immediate predecessor (The Equalizer just got an "A-"). All signs point to the blockbuster having a matching box office trajectory, which should make the producers at Sony very happy.
From a global perspective, this is a franchise that has always seen more than half of its box office grosses come from the United States and Canada, but The Equalizer 3 is finding success early on selling tickets abroad. The Numbers is reporting that the film has brought in $26.1 million thus far from overseas.
If the new movie does end up keeping pace with its predecessors and grossing $190 million before the end of its theatrical run, what does that mean for the future? Sony will surely want to order a fourth film, as the franchise has proven to be one of their most consistent, but it may not be an immediate "yes" situation from the creatives. Denzel Washington has said that it's time to end his run as Robert McCall, and Antoine Fuqua has supported that sentiment. We'll have to wait and see what happens, so stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for all of the latest developments on that front.
Blue Beetle Once Again Holds On Strong With Another Small Weekend-To-Weekend Drop
Though Angel Manuel Soto's Blue Beetle didn't get off to the hottest start when it arrived in theaters in mid-August, it has since demonstrated some strong legs thanks to positive buzz and word of mouth. As I pointed out in my box office column last week, 2023 is a year when superhero blockbusters are dipping as much as 70 percent weekend-to-weekend after their debuts, but this DC release is different. After holding strong with a 51 percent dip in its sophomore Friday-to-Sunday, this weekend saw its numbers go down only 40 percent.
We're not talking about ridiculous numbers here, as a 40 percent drop still means that Blue Beetle only made $7.3 million in the last three days, but the film's big picture look is improving. The film has now made $56.6 million domestically and $45.3 million overseas, and that means its become the 41st movie of the year to earn nine-figures. Its presently ranked as the 40th biggest international release of the year, its $101.9 million in ticket sales having surpassed Justin Simien's Haunted Mansion.
Blue Beetle isn't totally changing DC Studios' recent profile, which has suffered some big blows in the last year thanks to Jaume Collet-Serra's Black Adam, David F. Sandberg's Shazam! Fury Of The Gods and Andy Muschietti's The Flash, but it offers fans to have some optimism about upcoming DC movies (James Wan's Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom is currently on the release schedule for December).
Barbie And Oppenheimer Both Cross Two More Massive Domestic Box Office Milestones
We now may be more than a month removed from the opening weekend phenomenon that was Barbenheimer, and the summer blockbuster season may be over, but that doesn't mean we're done discussing two of the biggest box office hits of 2023 thus far. Greta Gerwig's Barbie and Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer continue to make headlines, and they've successfully done so this weekend with both of them crossing two massive domestic milestones.
Having made $10.6 million this past weekend, Barbie is now one of just 14 movies ever to make over $600 million domestically – which is notably a benchmark that Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic's The Super Mario Bros. Movie was unable to reach (it finished its run in the United States and Canada having made $574.9 million).
As for Oppenheimer, the $5.5 million it has added to its gross means that it has now made over $304 million here at home. It's now the third highest grossing domestic hit of Christopher Nolan's career, having made more money than Inception, Batman Begins, Dunkirk, and Interstellar – and this is in spite of the fact that it is an R-rated, three hour-long historical biopic. It's a remarkable thing to see.
Coming up next weekend, Hollywood will be officially kicking off spooky season 2023 with the release of Michael Chaves' The Nun 2 – the direct sequel to Corin Hardy's The Nun – which Conjuring Universe fans will remember made a staggering $363.4 million worldwide when it came out in 2018. Will the sequel be able to follow in The Equalizer 3's footsteps and put up matching numbers? Head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to see our weekend box office report, and get a look ahead at all of the movies coming out between now and the end of the year with our 2023 Movie Release Calendar.